The State of Coronavirus in New Zealand: Advice for Travellers

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COVID-19 Travel Restrictions in New Zealand

The 2019 outbreak of COVID-19, commonly known as the Coronavirus, has resulted in travel restrictions in many countries around the world including in New Zealand. This guide provides advice for travellers visiting New Zealand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Zealand has some of the toughest travel restrictions in place for people arriving from overseas as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. This guide uses updates provided by the New Zealand Ministry of Health and will be updated when new information becomes available. The restrictions mentioned below are reviewed by the New Zealand Government every 14-16 days.

For weekly updates on the Coronavirus, check out the NZ Pocket Guide YouTube Channel, while more general advice on travelling in New Zealand can be found at New Zealand Travel Advice: How to Plan a Trip to New Zealand.

Cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand

This article was last updated on 02/05/2020.

As of 02/05/2020, New Zealand has had 1489 confirmed and probable of COVID-19.


New Zealand Lockdown: Alert Level 4

Update: As of 26/03/2020, New Zealand is at Alert Level 4, which means the following applies:

  • people instructed to stay at home
  • educational facilities closed
  • businesses closed except for essential services (eg supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics) and lifeline utilities
  • rationing of supplies and requisitioning of facilities
  • travel severely limited
  • major reprioritisation of healthcare services.

For visitors currently in New Zealand, this means that you must also stay in the same place with the same people you are with from 12am on 26/03/2020 for a minimum of four weeks. The duration of this Alert Level 4 “lockdown”, will be reassessed in due course.

For for information on what “staying at home” means and what you can and cannot do, check out the New Zealand Government COVID-19 website.

Arriving in New Zealand from Overseas

Update: As of 19/03/2020, there is a temporary border restriction where most foreign travellers can no longer enter New Zealand. In other words, the New Zealand border is closed to anyone except:

  • New Zealand citizens
  • Permanent residents
  • Residents with valid travel conditions
  • Immediate family of those stated above (partner or spouse, legal guardian and dependent children under the age of 24)
  • Australian citizens
  • Australian permanent residents who normally live in New Zealand.

All of the above who are returning to New Zealand must self-isolate for 14 days.

Immigration New Zealand can make exceptions for foreign travellers entering New Zealand on a case-by-case basis for:

  • humanitarian reasons
  • health and other essential workers
  • citizens of Samoa and Tonga for essential travel to New Zealand
  • the holder of a visitor visa who is the partner of a dependent on a temporary work or student visa holder and who normally lives in New Zealand and is currently in New Zealand.

All other foreign nationals cannot enter New Zealand.

As of the 15/03/2020, anyone arriving in New Zealand from overseas must self-isolate for 14 days. This excludes anyone travelling from a “Category 2” country, which consists of some of the South Pacific island nations. Currently, this restriction is in place until the end of March but could be extended. We will update this page when new information becomes available.

What are the Category 2 Countries?

If you are travelling from any of the below countries which you have been in for at least 14 days, then you are not required to quarantine yourself for 14 days when arriving in New Zealand (unless you have COVID-19 symptoms).

  • Cook Islands
  • Fiji
  • Kiribati
  • Marshall Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Nauru
  • New Caledonia
  • Niue
  • Palau
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu
  • Tokelau
  • Wallis and Futuna

Learn more about the South Pacific Islands here.

Arriving in New Zealand from Mainland China or Iran

There is a temporary travel restriction for anyone travelling from Mainland China or Iran, i.e. you will not be allowed to enter New Zealand if travelling from one of these two countries.

People who are exempt from these travel restrictions include New Zealand citizens, Australian citizens and aircrews that have used personal protective equipment.

Arriving in New Zealand on a Cruise Ship

There is a temporary travel ban on cruise ships entering New Zealand waters. If New Zealand is on your cruise ship itinerary, contact your cruise liner to get the latest update.

For general advice for arriving in New Zealand, take a look at Everything You Need to Know About Arriving in a New Zealand Airport.

What if You Have COVID-19 Symptoms?

The Ministry of Health asks that anyone in New Zealand who has travelled from overseas and who develops symptoms of fever, cough and/or shortness of breath to phone Healthline’s dedicated COVID-19 number 0800 358 5453.


How to Self-Isolate as a Visitor to New Zealand

Update: Due to the current Alert Level 4 Lockdown in New Zealand, all unnecessary businesses including most businesses in the tourism industry, as well as the fact that everyone needs to “stay home”, obviously means that now is not a good time to travel to New Zealand for tourism purposes. For this reason, we recommend cancelling trips to New Zealand for the near future.

Nevertheless, if you arrive in New Zealand from overseas, the restriction of being required to self-isolate for 14 days then following the Alert Level 4 rules still applies. Below is the advice we put forward for visitors needing to self-isolate in New Zealand.

What is Self-Isolation?

Self-isolation refers to avoiding situations where you could facilitate transmitting the COVID-19 virus where you are likely to come into contact with others. The Ministry of Health refers to self-isolation as “staying at home”. Of course, if you’re arriving in New Zealand as a visitor whose home is not in New Zealand, you will need to find alternative accommodation for self-isolation.

For staying in alternative accommodation, such as a motel, hotel, holiday home or an Airbnb, the Ministry of Health advises: “If you need to stay at home for 14 days and are considering using alternative accommodation, you must advise them in advance of your need to self-isolate. The majority of people who will need to stay at home will be healthy, but suppliers may make their own decisions about whether to allow you to use their provisions.”

For self-isolation, we recommend choosing self-contained accommodation, which has its own kitchen and bathroom, so that you have the facilities you need without having to make contact with others. Accommodations with shared kitchens and bathrooms are not appropriate for self-isolation. Browse our Accommodation category for accommodations options and advice.

What if You Have COVID-19 Symptoms?

The Ministry of Health asks that anyone who has travelled from overseas who develops symptoms of fever, cough and/or shortness of breath to phone Healthline’s dedicated COVID-19 number 0800 358 5453.

For more information on the Coronavirus in New Zealand, check out the Ministry of Health website.

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